The CIPD’s latest Employee Outlook found there was a clear mismatch between how employees see the culture of their organisation and the type of culture they would actually prefer to work within.
This had a significant impact on talent management as well as overall business success.
The survey of 2,000 UK employees asked what would enable workers to be most productive in their jobs. The most common responses were interesting work (40 per cent), being able to use their own initative (39 per cent) and being given tasks which complement their skills (25 per cent).
It found employers can unleash the productivity of their workers by allowing them more scope to use their initative, create more stimulating work and reduce the burden of unnecessary rules and procedures.
Nearly half of employees said the culture of their business was a “formalised and structured place to work, where procedures govern what people do and hold together”, though 55 per cent would preferred to work in “an organisation with a family feel, held together by loyalty and tradition”.
Frequently cited hurdles to employee productivity were unnecessary rules and procedures (28 per cent), not having resources available to do their jobs (28 per cent) and office politics (24 per cent).
Claire McCartney, research adviser at the CIPD, said: “Productivity at work has been a real focus this year for employers and policy-makers, but it’s easy to forget that the most important perspective on the productivity debate is that of employees themselves.”
She said the survey provides “unique insight” into what workers feel affects how well they work “and the answer is much simpler than many would probably assume”.
“Improving productivity is an ongoing, long-term project for the UK, but in the shorter rem, employers can help employees use their skills and ideas by focusing on developing leaders and line managers who empower rather than control staff and by designing jobs which provide sufficient autonomy.”
In order to give employees more freedom to innovate and play to their strengths, McCartney said an employment relationship “based on trust” had to be in place.
The level of engagement among employees also dropped this year – from 39 per cent to 36 per cent, with men more likely to be disengaged than women.
Of those who feel disenchanted with their current workplace, 44 per cent felt they were over-qualified. The connection between engagement and productivity was clear – more disengaged employees (17 per cent) said they were less productive than neutral or engaged employees. The solution here, many believed, would be if employers could broaden their job role, with 61 per cent feeling this would make better use of their skills and experience.
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